Whether you like to tan in a stand up or lay-down tanning bed, and whatever kind of eye wear you use, it’s likely that you’ve experienced the nightmare of “panda eyes”, or “raccoon eyes”. These can even occur if you’re sunbathing and wearing sunglasses! The important thing to remember is that however bad this may be, the safety of your eyes should always come first, so absolutely do not use a tanning bed without eye protection, the risks are really not worth it! Continue reading for the best tips on how to avoid panda eyes.

Types of Eyewear

If you visit a tanning shop, it’s likely that you use the eye wear that they provide to you, or you may even have your own.

1. Tanning Goggles

You’ve probably seen these bog standard tanning goggles. These are great as they have thick plastic covers for your eyes which don’t let in any UV rays and keep your eyes super safe. As they’re quite large they also give great protection for the delicate skin around your eyes too, which is equally important to protect! However, because of this, these can be very major culprits for the dreaded panda eyes. They also have a very thin strap which can also leave a tan line, although I have never personally had a problem with this, given the strap is so thin (normally just a piece of string elastic).

2. Strapless Tanning Goggles

These tanning goggles were created to solve the problem of the strap on the regular tanning goggles. However, the fact remains that they have to join somewhere! So this sort often have a joining bridge between the eyes or under the nose. I personally feel that these actually enhance the problem they were designed to solve; the plastic bridge is much thicker than the thin elastic on the regular goggles, and will be more likely to leave an unappealing tan line.

3. Wink Ease

My local tanning shops’ preference; Wink Ease. If you’ve never seen these before, they are small circular stickers that you fold into a cone shape and place over your eyes. They have a reflective shiny surface which is great for reflecting the UV rays, which means they are very effective at protecting your eyes even though they are thin and light.

Technique to Avoid Panda Eyes

Once you have decided which eye protection method is right for you, you can now sun-bed safely, but how to avoid those panda eyes? The good news is that the technique remains the same, regardless of which method you use.

The best technique to avoid panda eyes is to move your eye wear around every minute or so, so that the UV rays don’t have time to catch those tan lines. For example:

1. Place your eye wear on, ensuring it is tight to your skin and there are no gaps. Begin your tanning session.

2. After 1 minute, move your eye wear upwards so that the bottom of your eye wear is in line with your lower waterline.

3. After another minute has gone by, move your eye wear so that the top is in line with the bottom of your eyelid, it would be best to have your eyes closed for this minute so that the UV rays get some exposure to your eyelid.

4. Wait another minute, then move your eye wear to the left as much as possible, ensuring that the right side of your eye wear is as left as possible without exposing your eye.

5. You guessed it- move your eye wear to the right after another minute has gone by.

6. Repeat the above steps for the duration of your tanning session. Be sure not to have your eye wear in any one position for longer than a minute as this will give the potential for panda eyes, but also because you don’t want too much UV exposure on the sensitive areas of your eye (your eyelid, and the delicate skin under your eyes)

Concealing Panda Eyes

It’s too late, you already have the dreaded “panda eyes”! Don’t worry, there are ways to conceal this using makeup or other cosmetics.

1. Foundation and concealer

If you’re anything like me, you wear a layer of foundation and concealer under your eyes anyway. Apply your normal shade of foundation to your entire face, and then apply a light layer of concealer in a lighter shade to your under eyes. Set with a translucent powder. This will make your under eyes appear brighter and should flawlessly blend out your tan line.

2. Gradual Tanning Lotion

If you’re not a big makeup person, or wearing makeup is impractical for your job, you should try a lotion with a gradual tanner in it. Apply this to your entire face (not just your under eyes!) and after a couple of days this will seamlessly blend out your tan like. As this method will only improve the appearance of your panda eyes after a couple of days, for the first day or 2, try applying the lotion and then sweeping a light dusting of bronzer directly under your eyes until you achieve the desired result.


The most effective method for getting rid of panda eyes is prevention! Follow the above technique to avoid panda eyes from the beginning and achieve a flawless face tan. If worse comes to worst and you already have panda eyes, there are a number of effective methods of covering this until your tan naturally fades.

If you have any queries or suggestions feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you!